Hosted by:

TEAMShambler Quake Level Reviews

Style and info
Submitting levels

Latest review
Reviews by date
Reviews by zip name
Reviews by map name
List of old levels

Design Theories 1
Design Theories 2
Q1 SP Articles

Speedrun demos

Level help
Site FAQ

Monday 5th February 2001:

Elek_neh_episode4: "The Tides of War"
(Size: 7.60 meg. No Alternative downloads.)

Note 1: This unit requires the Nehahra mission pack to play. Download Nehahra and/or read the review. You also need to download the following updates to Nehahra: Nehupdate3 (310 k) and Nehmusicfix (380 k).
Note 2: A 3D card is required to play the unit, as for Nehahra, and some sections of this unit may run slowly in places. You will also need to allocate more RAM to play it - see the Help page section 3.A. for more information.
Note 3: The advanced dodging AI in Nehahra can now be disabled by bringing down the console (using your ~ key), and then typing in "nomonsters 1" (without quotes). This will give monster movement closer to normal Quake.

A 5 map expansion pack for Nehahra, with a follow-up story: The player is a marine sent to deliver supplies to a supposedly deserted outpost, from whence things go horribly wrong. The unit has a similar ethos to Nehahra, using many of it's modifications (see the review for details), with the same variety of original and exciting map themes - from base to outdoor mountain to temple and medieval. It also has the same lack of overall coherence: The first map fits well with the story, but subsequent maps don't relate to the story nor each other. Even some sections within individual maps don't fit with the rest of the map (though are equally good). Gameplay again has similarities to Nehahra overall (I played it on Hard skill, with default settings). In particular the base level with it's hideously skilled enemy AI provides a Half-Life-esque challenge, while later medieval levels revert to full-on Quakey action with plentiful monsters and supplies.

A notable addition is custom music: It's mostly dark electronic ambient music, chosen well to enhance the atmosphere like NiN's original music did (no cheesy rawk in earshot). Sound is often underused or underrated in Quake, and fitting custom music is a good inclusion. The variety of map styles makes them worth reviewing individually, except the start map. This sets the quality for the rest of the unit, a gloomy, fog-shrouded temple building, with a strong atmosphere, nicely curving architecture, and neat texturing. A pity this style is only used on a start map, but the quality of the other maps is equally good.

Neh3m1 - Turbulian Heights: A large base level that blends Idbase, Hipnotic base, and Ikbase textures to produce a familiar yet unusual base theme. Mostly these textures are combined surprisingly well, but occasionally the combinations and colours are overexcitable or garish. Architecture varies from the spectacular landing pad entrance, complete with a very well modeled ship, to watery silo-type structures, via simpler access corridors and small, detailed, control rooms. Cool transparent doors and windows are a good touch. The map design gives lots of exploration and route choices, including some side areas, and some choices it's best not to take =). There's a few good, very useful secrets too. Gameplay is challenging but mostly well balanced, the difficulty coming not from vast numbers of base enemy but from their Nehahra AI. Good weapons are supplied and will be needed, particularly for the over-powerful Rocket Grunts. There are also several ambushes to keep you alert, and a potentially tricky climax where, as in the rest of the map, playing cautiously is recommended.

Neh3m2 - Soulstice: A medium....errrr industrial-bridge-mountain-platform-ish map. This has a unique and awe-inspiring setting, the highlight of the unit. A series of rock spires, topped by primitive buildings, and connected by rusty girders and decaying bridges, above the omnipresent void, surrounded by a mountainous backdrop. As well as a dramatic design, the detailing is superb: cracks in the ground and bridges, a filigree of beams and wires supporting the platforms, shattered windows in the buildings, swaying lanterns dangling from curved posts. A map that is logically constructed, thematically exciting, and very atmospheric. It may run slowly in some places. Exploration is equally unique, each area has many secrets and items perched precariously, requiring careful jumping or use of the Flight powerup - look, and think, before you leap. Gameplay is quite normal as far as the combats go, a fair variety of monsters - the nimble Scrags being the trickiest - a few good ambushes particularly later on, and a good gameplay balance. The ominous threat of the void is a constant shadow (as are Wraiths following the carnage), which some players may find annoying, saving regularly is recommended.

Neh3m3 - Summnom Crypt: A large temple map, that curiously starts off in a cute, snowy scene around a friendly Gaunt's cottage. A cool introduction, though out of place with the rest of the map, which is a sprawling, solidly built underground temple. It's diverse designs include large rooms, waterways, mazes and various connecting corridors, but the strong texturing - attractive and subtly coloured stone and metal with runic details - keeps it coherent. The architectural highlights are some very cool designs with beams and pillars, and neat angled alcoves, and most areas look good in this nice theme. The map is less exploratory than others, apart from the mazes, but there's a couple of secrets. The gameplay is a blast - despite some areas being empty at first, there's plenty of medieval monsters and ambushes, and lots of ammo, leading to more carefree action. Several traps however, require caution, though nothing is too nasty. Two mazes feature prominently. The first one is simple, the final one is much more complex and confusing, and includes traps. This may be a way to provide an unusual climax to the map, a test of navigation and endurance rather than pure shooting, but it can be tedious.

Neh3m4 - Tainted Grounds: A small medieval "arena" map, that curiously starts off in a small, empty, mountain section like Neh3m2, which again looks nice but would be better if something happened in it. An well designed Ikbase exit section is also puzzling. The main map is a stylish medieval church set in a natural rock cavern, one of the best and more interesting "final big combat" settings. The church design is refined and attractive inside and out, with some nice curves. There's no exploration, this map is about straight up combat, and very good it is too. Monsters are well used, with spookily placed Vores, lurking Shamblers, and several ambushes of varying amusement. There is also a friendly Marine who proves quite useful and entertaining. Ammo is supplied in vast quantities, but the monsters, in particular the crux Arch Gaunt, soak it up. A fitting finish to a very good and very interesting, if a bit incoherent, unit.

- - - - - -
Previous reviews
- - - - - -